PSTA CEO Brad Miller’s Facebook “like” draws No Tax for Tracks ire

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Anti-rail poster boy David McKalip is constantly searching for fodder for his blog that can be used to thward Pinellas County’s November 4 ballot initiative for expanded public transportation. Most of Sunbeam Times has become devoted to railroading (wah-wah) the Greenlight Pinellas ballot measure.

A previous post comparing talking heads for the plan to Hitler and Nazi Gernmany was yanked abruptly from the blog just moments after he posted it. So what now? This time it’s the all too familiar No Tax for Tracks battle cry that Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority CEO Brad Miller either needs to resign or get painfully fired.

So here’s the back story. A Facebook fan for the Tampa Bay Area Transit Worker’s Union posted a plea for members to Boycott two businesses that donated to the Greenlight Pinellas campaign. Those were Crabby Bills in Indian Rocks Beach and a Palm Harbor restaurant, Tiffany’s. The post wasn’t Millers. He didn’t even share it. Instead, his latest transit sin was “liking” it.

McKalip’s blog shows a screen shot of the post with Brad Miller’s doomed thumbs up. McKalip had to have been at least modestly successful with his scorn. Look at that same post now and Miller’s Facebook thumb is nowhere to be found.

The Tea Party brain surgeon’s argument is that some of the members of the transit worker’s union are likely Miller’s employees. So, by McKalip’s reasoning, Miller is giving his telling his employees where they shouldn’t choose to dine. He calls Miller’s “like” an endorsement of the boycott.

“The post on Facebook calls for union members to “not refer patrons” to Crabby Bills and Tiffany’s based on their opposition to the Greenlight Tax,” writes McKalip. “The Transit Union page told their union member bus drivers to give the message to their “patrons”. Thus is appears the Union worker’s goal is to abuse their position as a government employee to tell bus riders what business are “union-approved”.

That quote is taken verbatim from McKalip’s own blog so this, dare I say, grammar Nazi, takes no credit for the host of grammatical errors.

Here’s a transcript of the post ruffling McKalip’s feathers:

Attention!! Fellow union members, especially beach trolley drivers, and rt. 59:

I have documentation showing that Crabby Bills in Indian Rocks donated $1000 to No Tax For Tracks.

Please do not refer patrons to this restaurant.

Tiffany’s in Palm Harbor, on US 19 is another to avoid.

Since he pointed it out, the post has been shared by two NTFT supporters calling on their brethren to do the opposite – lend as much patronage to the two businesses as possible. The comment on the post do the same. The only like left on the post is from the original poster. Of course they like their own post.

McKalip’s disdain for all things Greenlight stems from the plans proposed funding structure. If passed, Greenlight Pinellas could nix the portion of property taxes currently funding PSTA and replace it with a one penny sales tax increase. It would immediately fund sweeping improvements to the bus system and eventually add a sole passenger rail line from downtown St. Pete to Clearwater with stops in between. McKalip calls the possible increased sales tax “the highest in the state.” Technically that’s correct, but there are other counties with an 8% sales tax.

The Greenlight Pinellas and No Tax for Tracks camps are in a heated race to best one another with polls showing support for the measure too close to call. Greenlight has money on its side and loves when McKalip does something kooky to discredit his and other Greenlight critics’ efforts, but NTFT has grassroots momentum.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email